Property Owners

Many families with Housing Choice Vouchers want to move into Opportunity Areas because they offer high-quality schools and other public amenities but aren’t able to because of a lack of property owners that accept vouchers. That’s where you come in!

The Community Choice Demonstration connects families that have a Housing Choice Voucher to property owners who maintain quality housing in designated Opportunity Areas in the Metro Housing and Redevelopment Authority (Metro HRA) and Minneapolis Public Housing Authority (MPHA) service areas.

The Housing Choice Voucher program is a federal rental assistance program that helps low-income families find housing in the private rental market. Families with vouchers only pay a portion of their income towards their rent, and the voucher covers the rest. The Housing Authority makes sure that the unit will be affordable for the family before reaching out to property owners.*

Find out why property owners love working with the Community Choice Demonstration:

  • Reliable, on-time rent payments: The Housing Authority pays their portion of the rent through direct deposit to your bank account.
  • Lease-up bonus: Property owners in an Opportunity Area who lease up with a Community Choice Demonstration client will receive a bonus in the amount of 50% of one month’s rent.
  • Supported families: Tenants receive coaching to help ensure that they will make a successful transition into their new home and security deposit assistance.
  • Faster processing: Community Choice staff will help you fill out the paperwork and efficiently process it at the Housing Authority.
  • Asset protection: Have peace of mind when you lease-up with a program tenant knowing that you can access a Damage Mitigation Fund of up to $2,000 in the rare event that a tenant leaves their unit damaged.
  • Free listing service: Fill vacancies quickly and save on advertising costs through our exclusive unit list for homes in your area.
  • Rent to a family in need of a home: Families in the program are looking for homes in Opportunity Areas to give their kids the best chances at success. They need property owners, like you, who will give them a chance too.

List your eligible units today! Not sure if your unit is in an Opportunity Area? See a map of the designated Opportunity Areas for the Community Choice Demonstration here. For more information, contact Renae Pereira-Webb at [email protected] or 651-602-1231.

For more information on renting to HCV families, and your rights and responsibilities as an HCV landlord see our general information for all Metro HRA landlords.

Policies, procedures, and rent calculations vary depending on where the unit you are renting is located. If your property is in the City of Minneapolis, you should consult MPHA’s Community Choice Property Owners page for the most accurate information. However, all the benefits and incentives of participating in the Community Choice Demonstration described on this page are the same across both service areas.

Frequently asked questions

A Housing Choice Voucher, historically called “Section 8,” is a rental subsidy for low- income households in the United States. The Housing Choice Voucher Program is the largest federal subsidized housing program for low -income households in the US. State and regional authorities operate 2,500 voucher programs around the country. In the Twin Cities the Metro HRA and MPHA are two of ten housing authorities that operate the Housing Choice Voucher program.

The Housing Choice Voucher Program is not an entitlement program, and only about a quarter of families who qualify for the program actually receive a voucher. There are typically long waiting lists for families who want to receive vouchers.

Families who receive vouchers search for housing on the private rental market. The voucher acts as a coupon, so families can find housing affordable to them, and they only pay a portion of the rent. The housing authority pays the rest. If the family has no income, the voucher will typically cover the whole cost of the rent and provide the family with a subsidy to pay utilities. Vouchers are subject to regional rental ceilings, called payment standards, where the housing authority can pay only up to a certain amount for a unit based on the neighborhood, bedroom size, and amenities included in the unit.

Housing authorities are subject to limits set by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which sets regional limits on how much the housing authority can pay based on the number of bedrooms the family qualifies for. The limit is called the Payment Standard, and includes rent plus renter-paid utilities. Payment Standards are dependent on the location of the unit:

For the designated Opportunity Areas in Metro HRA and MPHA that are part of the Community Choice Demonstration, use the Address Locator Tool to view the payment standards, as well as the estimated rental price limit for that neighborhood. The numbers provide an estimated rental price a Housing Choice Voucher family with no income can afford.

Many families can pay more than the payment standard based on their household income. The Metro HRA will help you and the family determine if your unit is affordable to them.

There are two important factors to keep in mind. First, families with income may choose to look above the established price limit because they can pay a larger portion of the rent. Second, although the payment standard helps families figure out how much they can afford based on the location, the rental price agreed upon between the Housing Authority and the property owner must be similar in price to other comparable units in the area fair market rate. The Housing Authority will look at comparable units in the area (based on amenities, size, and type of unit) to make sure that the rental amount the property owner requests is a fair price based on the market. This process is called determining rent reasonableness. If your rent is determined to be reasonable and the family can afford the unit according to Metro HRA rules, they can still rent your unit.

Payment standards are evaluated regularly and approved by the Metropolitan Council and HUD. The Metro HRA is unable to make exceptions to the payment standards on behalf of a property owner. If you believe the payment standard for your area does not reflect the value of your unit, the best course of action is to participate in Community Development Committee public meetings when payment standards are being discussed.

Renting your property to a family with a voucher follows a very similar process as leasing to a family without a voucher. It includes a few extra steps to make sure you and the tenant will make a successful match.

We encourage property owners to screen voucher families the same way they would with any other applicant. You will want to consider, however, that the voucher will count towards a large portion of the rent (if not all of it), so many property owners have different, more flexible income criteria for voucher holders.

After an applicant goes through your screening criteria, you turn in a packet of information to the Housing Authority called a Request for Tenancy Approval. This proves that you are the owner of the unit and lists the amenities included in the unit.

Once the Housing Authority has the Request for Tenancy Approval, you and the Housing Authority must agree on the rent amount. The Housing Authority will look at comparable units in the area (based on amenities, size, and type of unit) to make sure that the rental amount requested is a fair price based on the market.

Lastly, a Housing Authority representative will inspect the unit to make sure that it meets Housing Quality Standards. These standards were created to ensure that our federal tax dollars are not used to house families in units that are subpar and unsafe.

After the unit passes inspection, the tenant can sign the lease and the deposit is paid. You sign an agreement with the Housing Authority called the Housing Assistance Payment Contact (HAP for short). The contract shows that you have agreed to receive the rental payment from the Housing Authority. The HAP contract outlines the exact amount of monthly rent being charged, the amount the tenant is responsible to pay directly to you (know as TTP), and the amount the Housing Authority will pay directly to the you.

Each month, you receive the rent from the Housing Authority and the tenant. If the tenant’s income goes down, the Housing Authority will pay a larger portion of the rent so that the unit is always affordable for the tenant.

Inspections are typically conducted annually so if the tenant wants to live in your unit another year, the Housing Authority will come to inspect the unit prior to the lease anniversary date.

Use the Address Locator Tool to look up if a property is in an Opportunity Area and qualifies for benefits as part of the Community Choice Demonstration. The Address Locator Tool also tells you the payment standard for the zip code where the property is located. Families with income may be able to afford more.

If you have questions as to whether your unit qualifies or what it takes to list your unit for rent for the Community Choice Demonstration Program, contact Renae Pereira-Webb at [email protected] or 651-602-1231.